From Private Godfrey on the cover to Lynda Bellingham - mag industry survivor Yours celebrates 40 years of 'caring and sharing'

Mag industry survivor Yours celebrates its 40th anniversary this month with a special issue guest edited by regular columnist Lynda Bellingham.

She is also the cover star for the fortnightly title providing quite a contrast with issue one which featured Private Godfrey from Dad’s Army on the front (actor Arnold Ridley).

Yours was launched in 1974 as a newspaper by Help the Aged (now Age UK) and was originally distributed by volunteers via clubs, day centres and churches.

It was bought by Emap in 1988 and turned into a monthly magazine. In 2006 it was bought by Bauer and moved to fortnightly.

Yours aims to provide “friendship, information, laughter and support” for readers aged 50 and over.

Its circulation has held up comparatively well, rising 0.5 per cent period on period in the first half of this year to 272,329. Circulation peaked at 440,000 in 2005 and stood at just over 315,000 in 2000.

Editors have included Neil Patrick (1988 to 2004), Valery McConnell (2004-2013) and Sharon Reid, who took over in 2013 having worked at the magazine for 25 years.

Bauer puts the magazine’s enduring success down to its “deep emotional connection” with its readers.

It said in a statement: “This connection has enabled the Yours brand to continue to expand into every aspect of its readers’ lives from events to retirement services to shopping to dating and, more recently the launch of yours.co.uk, a new and improved digital home for the magazine.”

Campaigns led by yours include persuading 60,000 pensioners  to sign a petition calling for a fairer deal on TV licences in 1993, the launch of the 2005 Yours Carers in Touch support group (which is still going) and a 2011 campaign for better care for old people in hospital which helped inspire the NHS Friends and Family initiative. 

Guest editor Bellingham said: “The reason I so enjoy writing my column for Yours is that I feel I am talking to like-minded people who have shared all the same experiences over the years. It’s like being part of a club and that’s such a nice feeling.

“Obviously over the last year, since being diagnosed with cancer, I’ve been completely overwhelmed by readers’ kindness and sensitivity but that hasn’t made me biased. As a reader myself, I feel Yours really tries to reach out to find interesting stories. I’ve so enjoyed being involved in putting this issue together.”

Editor Reid said: “Caring and sharing was at the heart of Yours when it first launched and we stay true to that today. Our readers are central to everything we do; we celebrate their passions, offer advice and inspiration, share memories and laughter with them and campaign on their behalf. Our success is dependant on our core philosophy ‘for you, by you, with you’.”

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